The MIT men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Smith College on Saturday, Oct. 28, to compete in the New England Men’s and Women’s Athletics Conference Championship.
The men’s team clinched a 10th straight title, remaining the only team to have won the NEWMAC championship since the inception of the conference. Scoring a near-perfect 18 points, the men dominated the eight-kilometer course with 10 of the top 14 runners, well ahead of runners-up U.S. Coast Guard Academy (52 points) and third place Springfield College (97 points).
The women’s team conquered the five-kilometer course and won their third ever NEWMAC championship, scoring 50 points against Wheaton College (72 points) and Smith College (118 points). The weather also provided ample competition, as the persistent rain throughout the day made for muddy conditions on the hilly course.
The men’s team went into the race confident in their physical ability and race strategy. Taking nothing for granted, Tech’s top runners took the lead from the start, stringing out the few competitors who went with them. Following closely in pursuit was a peloton of MIT runners that ran down several competitors who were fading into exhaustion.
Leading the charge to the finish was NEWMAC Runner of the Year Jacob J. Ruzevick ’09 who won in a course record of 25:58. Finishing second was Jeremiah R. “Yermie” Cohen ’09 (26:21) who fended off Coast Guard’s top runner after a neck and neck battle over the last two miles of the course.
A deluge of MIT uniforms quickly secured places four through eight, consisting of team co-captain Joseph D. Roy-Mayhew ’08 (26:29), Hemagiri Arumugam ’10 (26:31), Jack H. Bourbonnais ’10 (26:33), Trevor B. Rundell ’09 (26:37), and M. Brian Jacokes G (26:37).
Arumugam had a dramatic surge to the finish, moving from nearly 15th place to fifth over the final 800 meters. Spectators did not have to wait long for the next exciting finish as Rundell barely out leaned teammate Jacokes as they sprinted to the line. Close behind the duo was Gihan S. Amarasiriwardena ’11 (26:43) who earned top honors as NEWMAC Rookie of the Year.
The MIT women employed a different strategy, hanging back for the first mile and allowing competitors to lead the race. Tech women dominated the second and third miles of the five-kilometer course. MIT passed the competition as athletes who ran too fast in the first mile foundered on Smith’s legendary hills.
The women’s team effort was led by Maria J. Monks ’10, who finished fourth in 19:36, crossing the line 27 seconds behind winner Nora Youngs of Smith College. Teammate Elizabeth M. Finn ’09 followed closely behind, placing fifth in 19:38. The tight trio of Jennifer A. Doyle ’09 (19:57), Kathryn A. Gordon ’11 (20:03), and Adrienne M. Bolger ’09 (20:04) closed out the scoring for MIT in 12th, 14th, and 15th place respectively, with Doyle and Gordon joining Monks and Finn in earning All-NEWMAC honors. Gordon was also the first freshman to cross the line, earning the title of NEWMAC Rookie of the Year.
Jacqueline M. Wentz ’10 and Elizabeth L. Labuz ’09 rounded out the MIT top seven by finishing 22nd and 25th, respectively. Alina E. Gatowski ’11 and Anna M. Holt-Gosselin ’11 followed in 34th and 64th, and Leanne M. Veldhuis ’08 earned a personal course record.
With the conference championship behind them, the Engineers are looking forward to the Division III New England Regional Championship on Saturday, Nov. 10 at Connecticut College, Conn. At this meet, they will be vying to qualify for the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III National Championship, to be held on Nov. 17 at St. Olaf College, Minn.